The Inlander Staff & r & & r & CHURCHILL'S & r & & r & Churchill's aims to do one thing: provide you with the best beef you've ever tasted. And these are some seriously pampered cuts of meat. The restaurant's interior harks back a century, with a pianist at the shiny baby grand under an enormous crystal chandelier. Servers whisk about in tuxedoes with brocade vests, promoting the notion that dining out is serious and elegant business. All the beef at Churchill's is seared at 1,800 degrees to seal in juices and lock in flavor. The first bite of steak was swoon-worthy -- sumptuously rich and impossibly tender. But both the New York strip ($34) and the 24-ounce Cowboy steak ($49) were underdone. The butter lettuce salad ($7) was pretty, with the leaves left whole, forming a bowl with shredded beets, candied walnuts and goat cheese. Service was exceptionally knowledgeable and efficient. Now open for lunch as well. 165 S. Post St., 74-PRIME (747-7463) (LM)
ISABELLA'S RESTAURANT AND GIN JOINT
Like many nightspots, Isabella's boasts a large selection of martinis and specialty cocktails, but there's also a great lineup of wines, many by the glass. The extensive menu emphasizes classic American fare, cleanly executed with simple flavors, plenty of garlic and not a lot of fuss. It's not trendy, but that's OK -- a little black dress isn't trendy either. The house salad is a highlight, with mixed greens, cucumber, bleu cheese, walnuts and pears in a lightly sweet vinaigrette. The seafood-stuffed rib-eye steak ($24) could serve two easily and is almost too rich, but the saut & eacute;ed scallops ($18) with fresh pasta are sublime. You won't find Bogie at the bar, but Isabella's is a gin joint worth walking into. 21 W. Main Ave., 624-0660 (AC)
Dinner at Lovitt is like dinner at a friend's house, if your friend is an accomplished cook who uses only the freshest local ingredients and puts them together into simple, hearty dishes. The menu is relatively small, changing as the many locally sourced foods move in and out of season, with salads and soups offered a la carte. The Caesar ($5) features crunchy Romaine lettuce dressed with real Caesar dressing -- mild on the garlic and anchovy, but rich with the flavor and unforgettable texture of farm-fresh eggs. The Lovitt burger ($9), a patty of grass-finished beef topped with Cougar Gold cheddar, caramelized onions, tomato and lettuce, comes with crisply roasted wedges of potatoes. The chocolate bonbons ($6) make a light dessert that's easy to share. Lovitt Restaurant delivers superb dining in a refreshing get-out-of-town setting. 149 Hwy. 395 S, Colville, Wash., (509) 684-5444. (AC)
The minimalist vibe at Twigs is soothing, earthy and pleasingly inviting. The New Orleans shrimp appetizer ($11) had enough heat to make a statement without burning, but it was a little too oily; the Moroccan beef ($13), little chunks of beef nicely seasoned with a hint of cinnamon among other spices, served with a Gorgonzola fondue, was more successful. Pesto-crusted chicken ($17) was a pretty platter indeed, with a bright, fresh taste. Steak penne ($16) -- a m & eacute;lange of beef tenderloin morsels with crisp broccolini, garlic, shallots and bacon in a "white truffle scented parmesan cream" -- was another very rich dish; I couldn't discern truffle in the thick sauce, but its contrasting textures and the savory beef helped make this a successful dish. The sticky cookie ($6) -- a hot chocolate chip cookie with three scoops of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream -- is a simple dessert that makes you happy. The unexpected taste combinations at Twigs are often quite successful -- and lots of fun. 4320 S. Regal, 443-8000; River Park Square, 232-3376; 401 E. Farwell Rd., 465-8794 (LM)
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.